Guide to the Wuest/Schumann-Heink Papers MS 33

Finding aid prepared by Samantha Mills
San Diego History Center Document Collection
1649 El Prado, Suite 3
San Diego, CA, 92101
January 11, 2017

Title: Wuest/Schumann-Heink Papers
Identifier/Call Number: MS 33
Contributing Institution: San Diego History Center Document Collection
Language of Material: English
Physical Description: 0.25 Linear feet (1 box)
Date (inclusive): 1919-1936
Abstract: This collection contains personal papers of opera singer Ernestine Schumann-Heink and the Wuest family in San Diego in the 1920s and 1930s.
creator: Wuest, Albert

Biographical / Historical Notes

Ernestine Schumann-Heink (1861-1936) arrived in the United States in 1898, following a career as an opera singer in Europe. Upon her arrival, Schumann-Heink signed as a singer with the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. After five seasons with the Metropolitan, Schumann-Heink returned briefly to Germany. Her stay in Germany was brief, and she soon returned to the United States. Shortly after her return, her second husband, Paul Schumann died. In 1905, Schumann-Heink was married to her secretary, William Rapp, from whom she was divorced in 1914.
After arriving in San Diego in 1910 for a concert at the Garrick Theater, Schumann-Heink decided to make San Diego her home. She purchased property in the Grossmont area and constructed a home in what later came to be known as a “Colony for Artists.” Among those who later came to reside in the “colony” were the poet Carrie Jacobs Bond, and authors Owen Wister and John Vance Cheney.
Schumann-Heink was active during the years of the First World War, raising money for the armed services. Her singing to the soldiers gave her a special place in their hearts. In 1928, Schumann-Heink donated her Grossmont home to the Disabled Veterans of Minneapolis for use as a retirement home. Due to financial difficulties, however, ownership reverted to Schumann-Heink in 1932. Madame Schumann-Heink died in Hollywood, California, in November of 1936. A plaque in her memory was dedicated on Memorial Day, 1938, in the organ pavilion of Balboa Park.

Scope and Content

This collection contains personal papers of opera singer Ernestine Schumann-Heink and the Wuest family in San Diego in the 1920s and 1930s. Materials consist of correspondence, telegrams, and some concert programs. The correspondence in this collection pertains primarily to Schumann-Heink’s property in San Diego, although some letters do refer to her children. This is little information on her singing activities, outside of the programs. The letterheads do indicate the wide variety of places where she toured.


This collection is arranged by material type.

Related Archival Materials

SB 118 Ernestine Schumann-Heink Scrapbook Collection

Preferred Citation

Wuest / Schumann-Heink Papers, MS 33, San Diego History Center Document Archives, San Diego, CA.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The San Diego History Center (SDHC) holds the copyright to any unpublished materials. SDHC Library regulations do apply.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Samantha Mills on January 11, 2017.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Schumann-Heink, Ernestine, 1861-1936
Real property

Box-folder 1:1

Biographical Manuscript: Schumann-Heink, undated

Box-folder 1:2

Correspondence: Telegrams, 1919-1926

Scope and Content

Telegrams from Schumann-Heink to Albert Wuest regarding real estate, primarily the sale of her Grossmont home.
Box-folder 1:3

Correspondence: Letters, 1922-1928

Scope and Content

Letters from Schumann-Heink to Albert Wuest regarding sale of her Grossmont home and her son Henry.
Box-folder 1:4

Correspondence: Letters and Telegrams, 1922-1932 and undated

Scope and Content

Letters and telegrams from Wuest family members to Schumann-Heink, or between Wuest family members regarding Schumann-Heink. Subjects include going on tour, house-sitting, real estate and legal papers, and a personal matter regarding Schumann-Heink’s son Henry.
Box-folder 1:5

Real Estate Papers, 1935-1936


Escrow instructions and Option to purchase real estate in Coronado.
Box-folder 1:6

Concert programs and Illustration, 1921-1923 and undated

Scope and Content

Concert programs from Spreckels Theater; Little Rock, Arkansas; and New York. Illustration of Schumann-Heink and view of El Cajon Valley.